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Medical malpractice happens when your doctor or other healthcare provider fails to meet the standard of care expected of them. This can be anything from a simple misdiagnosis to wrongful death.

Here is an example of medical malpractice. A female patient has been struggling with pneumonia of the right lung. Eventually, her doctor says she will need a minor procedure done to remove part of her right lung to remove the pneumonia because she was not getting better. The doctor promises this is a routine operation and she will be in and out of the hospital same day. Fast forward to six hours post-op. Her family is told to come to the hospital immediately as they might not have much time left.

So, what happened? How did this simple routine operation caused by pneumonia turn into an almost fatal situation? This could be medical malpractice.

The patient ends up losing almost 9 pints of blood. Keep in mind, that is the average amount of blood in the human body is 9 to 12 pints. Imagine how traumatic this situation was for not only the patient, but her loved ones. She spends almost an entire month in the hospital intensive care unit with a respirator down her throat.

Eventually, when things calm down and she is stable, it’s revealed that during the operation, the surgeon realized it was not the right lung that needed to be operated on, like the doctor had informed him. In the end, the surgeon had to remove her entire left lung, which was completely black due to untreated pneumonia of the left lung.

doctor holding stethoscope

The Startling Truth in Numbers

See how a misdiagnosis can lead to so much more? This is why it is vital for doctors to listen to their patients concerns. According to MedicalNewsToday, 1 in 20 adult Americans will be victim of some type of misdiagnosis every year. To put that into perspective more, that is approximately 12 million Americans. These numbers are not the amount of malpractice cases, this is solely the number of misdiagnoses.

Why are these numbers so high? Negligence. Are there genuine mistakes made in the medical field? Of course. However, when something goes wrong as the result of a mistake, doctors need to be held accountable for what they have done. A lot of times doctors will deny what happened or refuse to speak on the matter. They will not even apologize for what has happened because that would mean admitting to guilt.

Medical malpractice should not be taken lightly and needs to be addressed. Many people don’t look into medical malpractice suits. This is because they like their doctor a lot or have been with them for years. But recognizing these mistakes and acting on them protects not only you, but future patients to come.


Gerling Law is a leading personal injury law firm dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to individuals and their families.  With over 50 years of experience, Gerling Law has helped thousands of people in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in a wide variety of personal injury and consumer protection cases, including trucking accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and social security disability. Gerling Law takes pride in the fact that we have never represented insurance companies, hospitals or large corporations and that we fight against powerful companies for our clients.

If you need an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer, Gerling Law is here to help.  You can always reach us at 888-GERLING (888-437-5464) or through our website at www.gerlinglaw.com.

Author Photo

Gayle Gerling Pettinga

Born and raised in Evansville, Gayle is a respected, experienced lawyer and a valued community leader. She graduated near the top of her class at Indiana University’s prestigious Maurer School of Law. She’s practiced law with one of the largest firms in Indianapolis as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. And that means she knows how big law firms and big companies think and how they operate – and she will put that knowledge to work for you.

Gayle has received numerous awards and honors including Martindale-Hubbell — Peer Review Rated: AV®, American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorneys in Indiana for Exceptional and Outstanding Client Service, and YWCA Evansville 100 Years, 100 Women Honoree, 2011.

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